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Latin America, the average (mean) is only 80. Indeed, in Caracas, in Rio de Janeiro, and in Mexico City there are over 10 percent who believe their populations are stationary or decreasing in size. On the whole, however, there is virtually a universal awareness of national population growth.
Opinions on Population Growth
The surveys then shifted to three questions of opinion:
All things considered, do you think having a larger population would be a good thing or a bad thing for this country?
How about the number of people in the world as a whole? Do you think an increase in the world population would be a good thing or a bad thing?
All things considered, how would you feel about a birth control program to encourage people in [survey country] to have fewer children-would you approve or disapprove of such a program?
For this set of questions there is a dramatic increase in the "no opinion" category. In seven of the twenty-two countries the number of "no opinions" exceeds 20 percent on the first of the three questions. Four of these are developed countries (Japan, Italy, West Germany, and France), but Rio de Janeiro, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore also fall in this category. On the second question, referring to world population, the "don't know" and "no opinion" categories range from 1 to 41 percent, with eight countries exceeding 20 percent. Although cultural differences may be of some importance, we conclude that there are serious organizational differences among the pollsters in the ways in which "no answers" are accepted and recorded. To improve comparability, the reported USIA figures have been recomputed, excluding the "no opinions" from the bases used in percentages.* The nations sampled are grouped by continent and the unweighted averages for the three opinion questions are presented in Table 2. Detailed tables including the "no answers" are presented in the appendix to this chapter.
The first noteworthy aspect of Table 2 is the predominance of negative opinion concerning world population growth (Column 2). In only one of the twenty-two sampled areas (Dakar) do less than half of the people with opinions believe such growth is a "bad thing." There is considerable variation, however, both within and between regions. The greatest variation is among the Asian nations, ranging from 95 and 91 percent in India and Turkey to 55 and 61 percent in Bangkok and Manila. Even within Europe the range is great—from a low of 73 percent in Italy to a high of 92 percent in Great Britain. Nevertheless, and this is the second most important aspect of the
*Of course statistical "comparability" does nothing about substantive comparability. Excluding the 36 percent "no responses" in Singapore along with the 4 percent in Dakar probably creates or magnifies systematic differences between the two universes which